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Christian Worldview Essay Contest

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ESSAY CONTEST DESCRIPTION

The Bible says that when you become a Christian your mind is renewed, and so with that renewing of your mind comes a new view of the world in which you live.”
~ László Tokés

We are pleased to announce the eighth annual Christian Worldview Essay Contest, held in honor of László Tokés. By entering this contest, you have the chance to win an award of $1000. The runner-up will receive an award of $500.

If you are currently a junior or senior, you are invited to submit an essay that engages with a topic or issue that is of interest to you from the perspective of your Christian faith. You may engage a contemporary issue or an historical event or development with contemporary relevance. Examples of issues include: poverty, race relations, healthcare, consumerism, education, HIV/AIDS, and marriage.

The essay should reflect research and knowledge about the issue itself along with the application of a biblical Christian worldview to the issue. (To read more about a Christian worldview, see shaded section below.) Your essay may be an adaptation of a paper that you have already written, so long as you engage the subject in your essay from an explicitly Christian perspective. It needs to be at least six pages, double-spaced, in length.

If you would like to apply, please submit an entry form and essay by the posted deadline. To be eligible to apply, you must be a junior or senior who plans to graduate May 2013 through December 2014. Previous winners are ineligible.

SUMMARY

  • MS Word document/ Title page should include:
    • "Christian Worldview Essay"
    • [Essay Title]
    • [Your Name]
    • [Date of Submission]
  • Double-spaced
  • 12-point font
  • 6-10 pages in length not including title page
  • Your essay may be an adaptation of a paper that you have already written, so long as you engage the subject in your essay from an explicitly Christian perspective.
  • You must currently be a junior or senior who is planning to graduate May 2013 through December 2014.
  • Previous winners are ineligible.

This contest was made possible by the vision and donation of a Hope alumna. It is held in honor of László Tokés, a pastor in the Hungarian Reformed Church whose consistent faithfulness to his Christian convictions and calling sparked a revolution that led to the downfall of the Communist Regime in Romania in 1989. It is being facilitated by the CrossRoads Project.

*Please be aware that monetary scholarships must be reported to the Hope College Office of Financial Aid and may have an impact on a student's financial aid package.

Deadline: Monday, February 24, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Entry Form

Background information about László Tokés**

Religious freedom was severely restricted during the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, with government authorities controlling what was taught and preached in churches. László Tokés criticized Ceausescu and his oppressive government for starving the Romanian people while he faithfully preached and served his congregation in Timisoara. The church grew dramatically under his leadership despite the presence of secret police and armed agents around and in the church building. When the government tried to exile Tokés to a remote village, he refused to leave, even under the threat of force. Members of his church and members of churches throughout the town gathered together in front of Tokés’ home on the day the government had scheduled his eviction--Catholics, Orthodox, Baptists, Pentecostals, and Reformed; Hungarians, Romanians, and Germans stood side by side in solidarity. Tokes spoke to them from his window, saying “We are one in Christ. We speak different languages, but we have the same Bible and the same God. We are one.” The protest that began at that small church moved to the central square of Timisoara and then spread to other parts of Romania. A week later, by Christmas of 1989, the Ceausescu regime had ended.

**(pronounced: Toe-kesh)

What is a Christian worldview?

László Tokés has written that Christianity involves a renewing of our minds that leads us to view the world in which we live from a new perspective, informed by our Christian faith and convictions. This essay offers you the opportunity to explore how your Christian faith impacts and informs your view of an issue in this world. It asks you to apply a biblical Christian worldview to the issue or topic that you choose to address.

One writer has suggested that a worldview is similar to a pair of sunglasses, in that the tint of sunglasses colors everything we see. Similarly, our worldview impacts how we look at things and what we see. As Christians look at the world, their perspective is informed by their understanding of the created nature of the world and of human beings, the reality of sinfulness and brokenness, the redemption brought in and through Jesus Christ, and the hope we have as we await the full restoration of creation and humanity.

In this essay you are invited to explore how your Christian worldview impacts your understanding of a topic or an issue. As you engage with the topic you have chosen, think about how your view of the world is informed by your beliefs about such things as creation, the fall, and redemption. Think about how these beliefs impact your perspective on the particular issue you are exploring. As you write, try to integrate this Christian perspective into your engagement with the issue at hand.

Here are some other thoughts on worldviews to keep in mind as you write:

A worldview is a set of beliefs about the most important issues in life. The philosophical systems of great thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle were worldviews. Every mature rational human being…has his or her own worldview just as surely as Plato did…Achieving awareness of our worldview is one of the most important things we can do…A worldview is a conceptual scheme by which we consciously or unconsciously place or fit everything we believe and by which we interpret and judge reality.
~Ronald Nash, Worldviews in Conflict: Choosing Christianity in a World if Ideas

A people’s world view is their way of thinking about life and the world, coupled with the values they set for themselves in the context of that way of thinking. The Japanese have a world view which shapes their lives together, the Canadian Dene Indians have one, the majority culture in North America has one, and so forth. There is also a Christian world view, not indeed embodied clearly in any extant society but expressed in the Scriptures. To adopt Christianity with authenticity is to be a person of faith who embraces that biblical world view…. This is a world view for shaping all of life and not just for shaping some “religious” or “spiritual” or “sacred” corner of life.
~Nicholas Wolterstorff, “Foreword,” The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View

What do we mean when we say that Christianity is a worldview? What we mean is that the Christian faith is a philosophical tapestry of interdependent ideas, principles and metaphysical claims that are derived from the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures as well as the creeds, theologies, communities, ethical norms and institutions that have flourished under the authority of these writings. These beliefs are not mere utterances of private religious devotion but are propositions whose proponents claim accurately instruct us on the nature of the universe, human persons, our relationship with God, human communities and the moral life.
~Francis J. Beckwith, William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland, editors. To Everyone an Answer: A Case for the Christian Worldview

For our purposes, worldview will be defined as “the comprehensive framework of one’s basic beliefs about things.”...[T]hings is a deliberately vague term that refers to anything about which it is possible to have a belief. I am taking it in the most general sense imaginable, as encompassing the world, human life in general, the meaning of suffering, the value of education, social morality, and the importance of the family. Even God can in this sense be said to be included among the ‘things’ about which we have basic beliefs.
~Albert M. Wolters, Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview

Award Winners

Christian Worldview Essay Award Winners - New Name! Now open to all juniors & seniors, $1,000 & $500

2012: First Place, Brooke McDonald ~ Second Place, Kevin Watson

László Tokés Essay Award Winners (Awarded to juniors in the spring for their senior year) $750 each

2011-2012: Kalli Shades and Erica Toren

2010-2011: Emily Feldhake

2009-2010: Grace Olson and Jeffrey D. Meyers

2008-2009: Cara Hahn and Brandon Smith

2007-2008: Smantha Miller, David Nyitray, and Matthew Wixson

2006-2007: Nicole Brace and William Nettelton